Summary : This Churchill-based polar bear tour promises close proximity and time among the King of the Arctic, coupled with an intensive focus on helping you gain outstanding photos. With the Classic Polar Bear Photo Adventure, start from your base in Churchill. Head out for three full days on the tundra at the edge of Hudson Bay, where polar bears congregate each fall waiting for freeze-up and the winter hunting season. Specially-designed tundra vehicles take you into the heart of their wild habitat, with plenty of space for equipment and spreading out to get just the right shots. On-site guidance from your expert photographer guide is complemented by evening lectures on how best to capture the wonder of Arctic wildlife, most notably the famed Churchill polar bears, through the camera's lens.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Photography
Just-Released Offer $250 Gear Credit (all 2017 dates)
$7,195 to $7,395
Arrive in Winnipeg, a former fur-trading post and boomtown for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which today is the provincial capital of Manitoba on the eastern edge of the prairie. A transfer is included to the historic Fort Garry Hotel, a prestigious Winnipeg landmark that dates to the opening of the Canadian West. Meet your expedition leader and fellow travelers at an orientation dinner this evening.
Fly to Churchill this morning. This hospitable outpost town, originally a fur-trading post, is your base for adventure. This evening, enjoy a lecture on Arctic photography and the northern environs by your expedition leader, who is both an expert photographer and naturalist.
Rise early to board custom-designed Polar Rovers, which allow you to get within prime photography range of the polar bears. Although each vehicle accommodates up to 35 passengers, there's only a maximum of 16 in the group, ensuring that everyone has a window seat, space for camera gear and plenty of room to shoot. For three full days, spend daylight hours on the tundra, photographing polar bears as they roam the edge of Hudson Bay waiting for the ice to freeze. From the warmth of our Rover, see mothers with cubs and young adult males play-fighting. A large adult male may turn his attention toward you, sometimes approaching within feet or even lifting his massive paws onto the side of tour vehicle to peer inside.
Out on the white expanse of the tundra you may also spot other northern wildlife, including Arctic fox, snowy owl, ptarmigan and gyrfalcon. Meanwhile, in addition to sharing photography advice, your Expedition Leader provides a captivating interpretation of the animal behavior and natural phenomena observed. Each evening, as dusk descends upon the wild northern landscape, meet for dinner, followed by presentations on photography, wildlife or local native cultures. If the night skies are clear and you're fortunate enough to see the dancing colors of the aurora borealis, head for a place away from the lights of town to capture this magical event on camera.
Return flights are scheduled to depart in the mid-to-late afternoon to offer as much time as possible to explore Churchill today. Those who wish may opt to visit nearby Cape Merry, a promising spot for photographing fox, hare, and Arctic bird life. Or, stay in town for some last-minute shopping to pick up native handicrafts and souvenirs. Other optional adventures available this morning include a dog-sled excursion and helicopter flight over the tundra. Enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill or dinner together in Winnipeg, depending on your flight schedule.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Departure dates and itinerary are subject to change without notice. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Getting There & Getting Home: In case of flight or weather delays, it is recommended that you arrive a day early and either participate in the Winnipeg extension program or stay on your own. Your small group tour begins with a 7 pm welcome dinner on Day 1. You are free to depart at any time on the final day.
Northern Wilderness Sled Dog Excursion: From $110 per person
An introductory sled dog excursion may be available on your polar bear expeditions, weather permitting. This overview outing is designed to introduce visitors to the tradition of sled dogs in the northland and includes a short but exhilarating, mile-long ride through the boreal wilderness. The focus of this excursion is to visit and learn about the dogs and the dog sledding tradition from an expert musher.
Northern Helicopter Tundra Adventure: From $560 per person
This 60-minute exclusive helicopter flight over the tundra is the most exciting way to view the North’s fascinating wildlife. Track migrating caribou, arctic fox and the mighty polar bear from a unique aerial perspective as you fly over the northern environs. This vast expanse of open tundra and frozen lakes also contains ancient pre-Dorset tent rings and other intriguing archaeological sites.
Winnipeg Extension: From $265 per person; Single Supplement: $55
For polar bear travelers who want to see as much as possible during their time in Manitoba, this optional one-day program in Winnipeg takes place prior to each polar bear tour. The program includes hotel accommodations at Hotel Fort Garry, breakfast and lunch, a tour of the city highlighting historical and cultural points of interest, and a guided visit to the acclaimed Manitoba Museum, winner of numerous awards for excellence in visitor experience and service.
Round-trip flights between Winnipeg and Churchill; accommodations; meals; complimentary boots and parkas for use during trip; services of professional expedition leaders and assistants; some gratuities; all activities/entrance fees; evening wildlife and cultural presentations; taxes and service charges. Subject to change without notice.
Travel to and from Winnipeg; optional activities and extensions; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities, travel insurance; items of a personal nature (telephone calls, laundry, etc.).
PHOTOS: © Patrick Endres, NHA; © Eric Rock, NHA, © Donna Passero, NHA, © Colin McNulty, NHA